In Reply to: Wire posted by A. Caldwell on May 27, 2010 at 13:23:
: I searched for two phrases to find their origin but they weren't listed.
: "Down to the Wire" as in down to the last moment and "Wire to Wire" such as some leading a contest from start to finish.
: I think these came from horse racing when they used wires stretched across the start and finish line. Or something like that. Anybody know the real story?
[It's in the archive of this site, under "down to the wire": - http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/21/messages/249.html - "It is generally attributed to the wire above the finishing line at a race course. The wire was to help judges decide close finishes. Decisions thus went down to the wire."
[(And further back in the archive this detail was added: "Horse racing. A wire is stretched above the finish line so that a camera above can take a picture at the moment the first horse crosses to settle the order of finish even in a close race ..." - B.]